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Landlords: new hoops to jump through if you want to seek possession from assured shorthold tenants

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New regulations have been introduced that require English landlords to provide certain documents and information to those tenants granted assured shorthold tenancies (AST) after 1 October 2015. Failure to do so could mean that the landlord will not be able to seek possession under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 apply to all new ASTs created from 1 October 2015 (and in three years time will apply to all ASTs). They introduce a number of new requirements including the following:

  • a new format for notices to be given by landlords under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 when they require possession of premises under let through an AST. This form of notice must be served in relation to new ASTs (and may also be used for existing ASTs);
  • a new legal requirement that a section 21 notice cannot be served unless the landlord has given to their tenants the following documents:
  • a valid energy performance certificate (EPC) to be given preferably before the AST starts;
  • the latest gas safety certificate; and
  • the Government booklet, “How to Rent: the checklist for renting in England” which is produced by theDepartment for Communities and Local Government. The most up to date version must be served before the AST starts (click here for the October 2015 version) but bear in mind that landlords are not obliged to provide more up to date versions throughout the tenancy.

To prevent arguments later, landlords should provide the full bundle of documents to each tenant at the time of signing the AST agreement and obtain the tenant’s signature.

Remember that where a tenant provides a deposit, the landlord must still confirm that the deposit has been protected in a government approved scheme and give the tenant a form called the ‘prescribed information’.

For more information on these and other changes made by the recent Regulations, please contact Ian Bowen on ian.bowen@pearsonsolicitors.co.uk or 0161 785 3500.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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